Hotel openings I’m excited about of 2014

A few hotels are opening this year and early next year, so I’d just share some I’m particularly excited about:

Westin Ubud (December 2014)

love Ubud (from Google Images), and I think there are much too little luxury chain hotels in Ubud (the Four Seasons is one of the only ones) – all the other Bali chains are by the beach. I’m particularly excited about the Westin because it has a confirmed opening, so I look forward to staying there sometime.

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W Beijing (July 2014)

I generally associate Asian Ws with the best hotels (though there are flukes now and then), so since Beijing is generally lacking good chains (though I’ve heard good things about the Fairmont and Hilton Beijing Wangfujing), I’m particularly excited about this launch. I’d return to Beijing sometime if I could.

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The Ritz-Carlton Nanjing

love Ritz-Carltons (I’ve enjoyed my stay at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore and I regularly visit the facilities at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong), and I’ve always wanted to visit Nanjing. So I think the new hotel will open up the best of both worlds.

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I want to go to Kazakhstan, yet countries ending with “stan” concern me

Kazakhstan seems awesome. At least the area around Almaty does. If anything, I think a review of Air Almaty, a review of the Ritz-Carlton Almaty and exploring the area won’t hurt.

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Hmmm, I heard they found bodies there… 😯

However I don’t think I heard good things from all people about Kazakhstan’s safety record. People have found bodies in Ile-Alatau National Park with stab marks, which is creepy.

So, before I start babbling, I’ll just ask for your opinion. Is this place worth going?

So, have you been to Kazakhstan? Is your whole family alive, and is it worth going?

Some famous DJ throwing a giant party at W Taipei – and he apparently “actually sucks”?

Reader (and friend) lulu sent me an email today, which I found rather amusing:

at w taipei… it’s funky… my mum hates it and got really pissed at the front desk people as there was a giant party with some world famous DJ who actually sucks…

(grammar not edited in any way, so excuse the grammar for being much worse than mine)

So I think y’all know I stayed in the W Taipei before and had a fabulous stay (but there are second to no details on this blog due to lack of pictures, but One Mile At A Time’s review is here and he had a similar experience though in a much superior room). So I was rather surprised when I received this disappointed email, and kinda disappointed myself since I recommended the hotel to him (saying that it was awesome).

I immediately thought of two huge mistakes the DJ made, disregarding the email:

  • Why DJ at the W? It’s got enough obnoxiously loud music to feel like a porn set disco, so the DJ won’t help anyhow.
  • Why Taipei? Taipei isn’t really the most touristy place (though it’s sure fun), so why not go to a more populated (with crazy people) place like Hong Kong, Singapore or Seoul (assuming the DJ wants to go to Asia)? lulu’s right, this DJ can’t choose a destination.

Adding on to that he’s not really impressed with the room either:

lulu: On the minus side… the room is smaller than they advertise it as!
Me: i’ll write a post about that. what room type?
lulu: faaaaaabbbuuuuullllloooouuussss room…. acccording to the front desk “talent” person thingymabob…
Me: More talent than you, at least! i went in the fabulous room before – my sunset picture was taken from there. 🙂 writing a post now.

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Recapitulation: Northbound Hop (May 2014)

I didn’t really create the recapitulation to just “recap” the trip (which, in this case, was Northbound Hop, which I finished last Wednesday). I created it to share my thoughts, what I would do with a similar trip next time, and that stuff.

But I still like to recapitulate the trip sometimes. Okay, here goes…

I’ll give a mention to the four parts (1, 2, 3, 4) of my (picture-less) live reports, written each night from my hotel bed in Kaohsiung (I don’t normally bring my computer along to trips due to my mom – and school – wanting me to be less tech-driven).

On May 12th I rushed to the airport at 6am to meet with the school to take the (very tedious) Dragonair Flight 432 in Economy (it’s a school trip, what do you expect?) from Hong Kong to Kaohsiung.

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Almost immediately we drove to the (trashy) Cijin Scenic Area for a ferry ride down to Gushan, where we visited Xiziwan and other touristy destinations. The boat ride was nothing special, but the views from the boat were!

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Why I’ve never stayed at a Hyatt, Hilton or InterContinental, and my quest to stay at some of them very soon

I’m having a hard time starting a blog though only having stayed at three out of the six major hotel chains (Starwood, Marriott and Accor). And there’s a reason I can summarise in, say, one blog post.

I’m not that old. As mentioned in the About page, I’m in my early teens. I’m not obsessed with loyalty, yet only want to review hotels linked to a loyalty program like Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt or Sofitel so my reviews appeal more to people who cash in miles instead of, well, cash. But I’ve only started choosing hotels since this year, so I still have my “try-more-than-half-of-the-hotel-program-chains” virginity (but in August that’s subject to change).

I mean – when I tried my first stay in each of these, I didn’t really get an impression of the hotel chain that stuck. I mean, I’ve only got into hotels this year (mostly since I started reviewing them here), so hotels were no big deal. That said, I did enjoy my W Koh Samui, W Taipei, Ritz-Carlton Singapore and Sofitel Dongguan stays, and that’s the most important part, right?

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W Koh Samui – SPG, 2013

The truth is, before I started (knowing how to be) choosing hotels, the hotels were either recommended by friends or by my parents from previous stays. Take the Century Southern Tower Tokyo, which I stayed at once (my parents had stayed back when I was a small kid – with me but of course I don’t remember) – I stayed once and was hooked to it. I think it was the high quality breakfast spread that got me, but every time I went to Tokyo I insisted on staying at the Century Southern Tower because I didn’t have a blog wanted to experience what I had experienced before.

As you know, I’ll be trying my first Hyatt – the Grand Hyatt Fukuoka, in August. Now, it’s almost shameful to say that, since I’m half the source of the blog. I plan to try a Park Hyatt property too – but I’m 95% sure we won’t be staying at one in Seoul, so I guess I’ll wait until I can to grab at a Park Hyatt.

So my quest is to try each hotel chain (with my parent scheduling) whenever I can pick a hotel. Then I’ll try to stick to hotel chains so I can review them (Four Seasons and Shangri-La – and of course Club Carlson hotels – are included).

North Korea…an aspirational destination?

North Korea has fascinated me. While it’s not everyone’s ideal destination, it definitely seems…nice for a week-long stay.

(Photo Courtesy of airliners.net. No, I didn’t go to North Korea.)

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Pyongyang (the capital of North Korea)

I mean, what’s going to be a better trip report than Air Koryo from Beijing to Pyongyang and then a review of the Koryo Hotel/Hyangsan Hotel/Kaechon Political Prison Camp?

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Hamhung City, North Korea

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Hamhung City, North Korea

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